This week took a rather surreal turn which resulted in some most unexpected actions.
As a member of the EAA fantasy department, we sometimes do events in costume or ‘drag’ as I like to call it – for maximum shock appeal! The idea was meet at Costa plan future events and then go to Knightshayes, our local National Trust mansion to take some photos of us looking slightly abnormal.
Things never go as planned.
The Costa manager wanted a photo of us glammed up and obviously no author in their right mind passes up a photo opportunity. So, I was there in Costa dressed as a Medieval lady with slight witch leanings, next to a Medieval woman, a sparkling elf, and a Steam Punker, having our photo taken in a crowded Costa trying to look cool. A feat we have yet to ever achieve but I live in hope.
Then we had to walk to the carpark to drive up to Knightshayes through the busy streets of Tiverton and no one seemed to notice… which was slightly unnerving.
Knightshayes was ablaze with the delicious summer sun, so we sat on the benches outside the stables waiting for our photo shoot to begin. The national press photographer, one Richard Lappas had been taking pictures of a famous government minister the day before, so it must have been a little bit of a culture shock for him to be taking pictures of fantasy creatures in a tree. However, as always, his pictures were stunning. Obviously, they would have been better if I looked more like Helena Bonham-Carter, but writers are meant to be kept in dark places to scribble their manuscripts well away from the bright lights and spot lights. There is a reason for it…
Anyway, I was sitting on the bench with Richard Dee (Steam Punk author) and Tracey Norman (Elvish storyteller) and one man in a Northern accent approached us and said,
‘I have to ask you, what are you doing?’
We replied we were in fact authors and not members of some strange Friday fetish club, which seemed to satisfy him, and he wandered off content.
The shoot went fine. I managed to vaguely understand the instructions from the photographer – the interesting command of put your eyes here did cause a slight confusion, however. The most amusing thing was how visitors took photos of me being photographing by a photographer which was slightly bizarre as I don’t even like photos of me!
The final shoot was the humorous (authors do have a sense of humour shoot) with us standing behind a tree and our little faces appearing around the trunk. The bottom face was the elf kneeling on the floor, then we had the Medieval woman leaning over the elf. Next, we had me – basically leaning over the back of said Medieval woman looking like we were doing something slightly inappropriate and being watched by the Steam Punker who was standing peering around the tree. From the front it might have looked like a cute, cheeky author picture, from the side view it looked like something completely different…
I am slightly worried about the pictures the onlookers took from the side view but at least they will not forget the fantasy department authors for some time.
P.J. Reed is the author of the dark, high fantasy novel, ‘The Torcian Chronicles.’